Pellegrini Vows To Navigate Divided Slovakia Out Of Turbulence

Pellegrini vows to navigate divided Slovakia out of turbulence

Bratislava, (APP - UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 15th Jun, 2024) Peter Pellegrini, the former Slovakia prime minister who was sworn in as the EU member's sixth president on Saturday, is a fanatic of planes, trains and cars as well as an ally of the Russia-friendly government.

Backed by populist Prime Minister Robert Fico, the 48-year-old pledged to "unite a divided Slovakia" during an electoral campaign dominated by divisions over the war in neighbouring Ukraine.

He told AFP that Slovakia was "divided between those who are in favour of the continuation of the war (between Russia and Ukraine) at all costs, and those who demand the start of peace negotiations".

"I belong to the latter," said Pellegrini, known as "Pelle" to his friends.

Educated in finance, he joined Fico's populist Smer-SD party and went on to serve in his ally's previous governments, before succeeding him as prime minister.

Pellegrini founded his own Hlas-SD party in 2020.

The leftist party came third in last year's general election and joined the ruling coalition with Smer-SD and the small far-right SNS to govern the European Union and NATO state.

- Trains and cars -

A Slovak with distant Italian roots, Pellegrini was born on October 6, 1975 in the central city of Banska Bystrica to a car mechanic father and a teacher mother.

"We lived modestly, like many other families in those days," Pellegrini, who has one sister, wrote in his CV.

"I was fascinated by my father's world, marked by the smell of motor oil and dismantled cars, tractors and motorbikes."

Pellegrini once said he wanted to work on trains, adding: "I'm extremely interested in railways in general.

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He is also a licensed pilot for single-engine light aircraft.

In 2015, he posted a Facebook video from inside a fighter jet with the comment that he got "an amazing birthday gift".

- 'Sexiest politician' -

Pellegrini is also fond of music and was part of a dance ensemble and played the accordion in his youth.

A bachelor, Pellegrini was also once dubbed "the sexiest politician in Slovakia" by women's magazines.

When announcing his candidacy, he said he lives alone, adding: "If elected president, I would not be accompanied by a first lady or anyone else."

He does however have a Greater Swiss Mountain Dog named Gery.

After studying finance, he worked as an economist and later as an adviser to a lawmaker from Smer-SD.

Pellegrini became an MP for the party in 2006 and was re-elected twice. Later he served as state secretary for finance, education minister and parliament speaker.

Pellegrini was prime minister from 2018 to 2020 after Fico was toppled following the murders of journalist Jan Kuciak and his fiancee.

The double murder sparked large rallies that forced Fico's resignation as Kuciak had been working on links between the Italian mafia and Smer-SD.

While head of government, Pellegrini also undertook stints as the acting minister of health, finance and interior.

Pellegrini speaks Slovak, Russian, German and English.

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